to go: 454.25
am seated -- as I am always
seated at 5:57 a.m., rain or shine, weekdays and
weekends alike, relentless creature of habit that I am -- in front of
the computer. The world is still dark, both inside and out: in the next
room, my husband still has another hour of snooze-time ahead of him. In
one hand I'm holding my trusty Vidal Sassoon Turbo-Dry 2000S; in the
other hand, a lukewarm mug of Italian Dark Roast.
I drink-and-dry, I
scan the overnight crop of e-mail.
couple of "Hi
I like your journal" notes from
new readers. A bit of *Survivor chat* from my pal Phil.
An e-mail from Bev,
detailing the highlights and lowlights of JournalCon. The usual stoopid
advertisements for bust enhancers and 'marital aids' and penis
enlargers. (Boy, have YOU
got the wrong household.)
I'm reading, I am
vaguely aware of something tickling my bare leg. A stray hair,
probably, blasted loose from my scalp by the mighty Turbo-Dry 2000S ...
or maybe another one of those pesky little brown spiders I keep picking
out of the sink. I brush my leg with my fingertips, unperturbed, and
continue reading my e-mail. (The Grillaz are talking about squirrels in
their pants again: I may have to step in here and divert the
conversation to something more civilized if this keeps up.)
persists ... only now it's more of an itch than a tickle.
I glance down
at my leg. In the half-light/half-darkness, my left calf appears to be
covered with fine, downy black hair. Jesus
H. Christ on a Lady Gillette! How long has it BEEN
since I shaved my legs, anyway??
closer inspection I can see that these things are too dark
and too random to be leg hairs. Plus there are way too many of them.
... they're moving.
It's a good thing I'm
I remember our last
Ant Infestation as clearly as if it happened just yesterday, even
though it's been more than a year. I can tell you
everything about that morning:
how I was running late because the coffeemaker overflowed, and I had to
stop and clean up the mess before I could take my shower ... how I
stood in the bedroom doorway for a couple of minutes, once the coffee
crisis was resolved, and watched David sleeping, wondering if I had
time to crawl into bed next to him and whisper a few *naughty nothings*
into his ear (but how I decided against it eventually: the overflowing
coffeemaker had already fudked me, timewise) ... how I went into the
bathroom, reluctantly, and shucked off my nightgown and flipped the
light switch and was horrified to discover 43,897,621 tiny black ants
crawling around the grimy porcelain interior of the bathtub.
I can even tell you
exact date and time that the infestation began: Tuesday morning, 5:57
... September 11,
If I were
superstitious -- if I believed in things like Dreaded Bad Luck Songs
and black helium balloons and unlucky pennies -- I might read
something into the sudden unannounced return of the ants this morning,
especially since we haven't seen hide nor mandible of the little
suckers since that black day. (Essentially they hung around for 24
hours that day -- just long enough to add to our misery -- and then
disappeared into the woodwork, virtually overnight. We haven't seen
them since.) If I were a superstitious person, I might see them
crawling up my leg this morning, and be reminded of that sad horrible
morning, and assume this is a sign that Something Terrible Is About To
Happen. I might have to start wishing on turkey bones and vapor trails
again, in an effort to ward off impending disaster. I might have to
wear my pajama top inside-out, or hold my breath when we drive through
The Webster Tube, or dig out the Herman's Hermits album and play "I'm
Into Something Good" a few thousand times.
I might have to start
"Rabbit Rabbit" every
So I guess it's
a good thing that I don't have a superstitious bone in my body:
otherwise I might be freaking out, right about now.
flip on the desk light
above the computer.
are at least fifty
follicle-sized ants crawling up the side of my leg, and another
43,897,621 of them puddled on the floor below my computer chair, inches
from my bare foot. They appear to be mostly congregating around some
formerly-foodlike substance -- a hunk of leftover garlic bread from
last night's dinner, from the looks of it -- and unless I'm mistaken
they're actually getting BIGGER,
right in front of my eyes.
Secra! they shout, when they see
me looking at them. Long time
probably be standing on top of the computer chair right about now,
screaming for David to come and rescue me. Or frantically dialing the
apartment manager. Or typing "exterminators
Alameda CA help help help" into
a web browser. But I'm not doing any of those things. The fact is that
I'm not much in the mood for nonsense -- or
superstition -- this morning. I didn't sleep well. I haven't had nearly
enough caffeine yet.
already had a
phenomenally shitty week, and today is only Tuesday.
the ants are
circling my computer chair. We
are The New Harbingers of Doom!
they chant together in ominous chorus. We
are your Twenty-First Century 'Marrakesh Express'! We are the upended
salt shaker on your picnic table ... the tails-up penny laying on your
sidewalk ... the single black helium balloon, floating above your head!
Look upon us and be afraid! Be very very ...
shut up," I snap at
I point the
Turbo-Dry 2000S under my chair ... and blow the little fudkers away.
throw a rock